Review: Green Day: Rock Band (360)


Green Day: Rock Band
Publisher: MTV Games
Developer: Harmonix
Genre: Rhythm
Release Date: 06/08/2010

We’ve all been around this block before and with the music gaming genre, the old adage “same dance, different tune” is becoming more and more apt as time goes on. Personally, I would lay this burden more on Activision’s exorbitant raping of the genre last year than punish Harmonix for doing its thing a couple times a year, but after popping in Green Day: Rock Band, I can honestly say the world is beyond ready for this stale genre to move forward with the upcoming Rock Band 3, Power Gig: Rise of the Six String, et al. There is by far plenty to like on the disc and it stays in tune with the quality that overflows the cup that is Rock Band. That being said, though, the title falls into all of the cons one would normally attribute to a solo act game disc and, at the end of the day, Green Day: Rock Band feels like it should have really been a track pack akin to AC/DC Live as opposed to a full-fledged The Beatles follow-up.

Let’s be honest here: The addition of Green Day themes, likenesses and songs is the sole ounce of originality in this title as the core mechanics are hammered into the game straight from the heart of The Beatles: Rock Band. I could just say “if you like Green Day and/or Rock Band, this game might be for you,” but that just doesn’t seem fair or proper. On that same token, this title is virtually identical to the numerous entries in the series I’ve detailed before, so this won’t be a drawn-out review, either.

To kick off our checklist, players shouldn’t expect anything too deep from the mode offerings. Surprisingly, Green Day: Rock Band does virtually nothing to document the band, which does, thankfully, allow us to eschew the painfully tired cliché of working the band up from unknown to platinum status. However, which such a license on hand, Harmonix does very little to take advantage of the fact. The developer does sprinkle photos and rare video footage throughout the title to reward extended play, but this does little to motivate players that aren’t enamored with Billie Jo Armstrong or enlighten Rock Band players that come in knowing little about the band. Green Day: Rock Band copies and pastes the modes and progression straight from The Beatles: Rock Band, meaning there is very little difference between the mode offerings and, once again, the replaybility is forced through menial challenges that only test the players’ willingness to endure set lists. Summing it up, what Green Day: Rock Band offers is serviceable, but there is little difference to be seen through the modes and we’ve seen it all before, plus more, in titles such as Rock Band 2.

The presentation and gameplay have been straight grafted onto this title from any other Rock Band entry. It looks, sounds and plays just like any console Rock Band title you’ve ever played before and there are absolutely no surprises to be found here. The sound bellows through in great quality, putting players into the performance, and while the gameplay offers nothing new, it is still gratifying, well done and fantastic for multiplayer sessions. Given the source material, Green Day seems more suited to this genre of games, throwing out a number of high-energy tunes from the duration of the band’s career. You do get some instances where a song will be lopsided among the instruments (songs where the bass guitar and drums do not kick in until at least half way through the song), but, for the most part, the music lends itself well to the gameplay and there is some definite challenge in some of the instruments compared to The Beatles’ laid-back charting.


Graphically, the title still looks solid, although the fuzziness, focus and repeated crowd members still stick out to me, but given the motion capturing sessions with the band and solid gameplay, it’s easy to overlook these very minor complaints. Harmonix didn’t go all out with the band like it did with The Beatles, so there is the unfortunate setback of a lack of variety in venues (there are only three in the game) and chunks of the animation. What we are given in Green Day: Rock Band works great, but it also gets repeated quite frequently.

The title does get a shot of appeal among Green Day fans, but most other players are left sitting on the fence for this one. Everyone does get the solid Harmonix quality in the title, but given the sparse variety among the game modes and the lack of emphasis of the band off the stage, it’s hard to consider Green Day: Rock Band anything more than another track pack. Even Green Day fans bemoan to me the lack of song implementation between the albums Dookie and American Idiot, leaving many to question why one song or another wasn’t included when Harmonix felt the need to include everything from the band’s last two albums. Regardless of your taste in the music, though, some gaps were left in between some of the albums and the language editing might get on the nerves of some fans (and, at least to me, it also just plain sounds weird). With only 44 selectable tracks – although a few of the game’s tracks meld multiple songs together – the $60 value does come into question, though, no matter how big of a fan of Rock Band or Green Day you are. When you consider Rock Band 3 is on the horizon and will most likely deliver at least 80 songs on the disc, again, Green Day: Rock Band is far better suited as a track pack at a lower price.

None of this is to say this specific entry is void of fun and solid mechanics, but given the repetitiveness and lack of new things to do in the title, $60 might be hard for a gamer to swallow, leaving the title to be a must-buy only for those that can’t get enough of both Green Day and Rock Band. With the linear progression, I found it hard to get drawn into the “career” and playing my favorite Green Day songs is mostly the sole innovation in going back to the game. However, with the ability to load the songs over into Rock Band 2 (or even the upcoming Rock Band 3), I’d wager most Rock Band players will opt for one of those titles over popping Green Day back in.

The Scores
Story/Modes: ABOVE AVERAGE
Graphics: GREAT
Sound: UNPARALLELED
Control and Gameplay: CLASSIC
Replayability: ENJOYABLE
Balance: GOOD
Originality: AWFUL
Addictiveness: ABOVE AVERAGE
Appeal Factor: GOOD
Miscellaneous: ENJOYABLE
FINAL SCORE: ENJOYABLE GAME

Short Attention Span Summary
Repeating the obvious, this is a Rock Band title made entirely of Green Day tracks, which makes it easy to recommend to gamers that are fans of both. Fans of one, the other or neither, would probably be better suited renting or waiting for the price to fall on this one, though. The “career” is just as linear and the mode offerings are just as thin as it was in The Beatles, but Harmonix doesn’t push the license as far. The presentation and gameplay is as spot-on as always, but its focus on a single act will turn away a lot of potential players and with some of the omissions, even diehard fans of the bad may have some complaints to air. Standing on its own, Green Day: Rock Band does put up some challenging instrument parts and the punk-pop style lends itself to the gameplay a little bit better, but with what is presented, it’s hard to justify a $60 value when compared to other music game offerings, especially, when you have to pay extra to import tracks and download more tracks to complete the most recent album.

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